Before you head out to a pumpkin patch on the Space Coast, there’s a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on carving the perfect pumpkin, especially if you want it to last longer than a few days.
In the past, I’ve spent hours carving a beautiful design only to find it rot a few days later. This year I am determined to carve mine and make it last longer than a three days.
What causes a pumpkin to decay?
The skin of a pumpkin protects it until you start to carve. Once the skin is broken, organisms like fungi, bacteria, and mold start to break it down. Oxygen also contributes.
Here is a quick and easy way to prevent your pumpkin from decaying:
- Wipe the exterior surfaces clean by using a damp cloth.
- Make a bleach solution – 1-tablespoon of bleach per quart of water and place it in a spray bottle.
- Cut the bottom out of the pumpkin instead of the top. This helps retains moisture (plus it makes it easier to put on top of your light.)
- Scrape and discard the pumpkin guts. Keep the seeds! They can be baked for a tasty treat!
- Spray the inside of the pumpkin with the bleach solution and let it penetrate for about 20 minutes.
- After you carve your design, spray the edges with the bleach solution.
- Rub all of the carved areas with petroleum jelly to keep out bacteria. This will also slow down the dehydration process.
- Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight and consider refrigerating overnight.